A top-down, action adventure rogue-lite. Each quest requires an oath, and bringing back one less flagon of ale than you promised brings dire consequence!
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Release Date:
Jul 12, 2018

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June 22


I think there's a fine line between the challenge of rogue-like deaths, and the infinite continues of the modern game. When you know you only have one life to live, the adrenaline can get pumping, you have 1 health point left and your run is on a knife's edge. If you pull it off, there's not many better feelings in video games. If you die... it can suck. But you can't have the joy of life without the threat of death.

But it's still a game. And there are positive and negative feedback loops. Too many negative loops, and people are going to give up. Beard & Axe is difficult. By some playtesters accounts VERY difficult. The honor system has been the cushion to this for some time in development. But that's all it is. Have honor, your game isn't completely over. Run out of honor, your save file is wiped and you're beginning again. Purely negative feedback and no reason to stack up on your honor number besides avoiding bad things.

And that's where the resurgence mechanic came in. By spending 3 (subject to change) honor upon death, Old Beard can pop right back up, dealing significant damage to nearby enemies. He'll be at full health and completely sober (yes there is a beer health bar). Resurgence can only be activated once per quest, so it's not heading toward a difficult imabalance. Honor finally has a purpose, and a bit of the crazy difficulty has been shaved off. But it's still a hard decision. I believe games at their core are a series of interesting decisions, so this plays quite well into that belief.

Only a couple weeks left to launch! Super excited here at Dwarfaparte HQ. Balance and playtesting are the order of the day until July 12th.

Thanks for having a read!
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May 31

The Hobgoblin Forest and the Important of Playtesting

Early on in development of Beard & Axe, I had to decide on some themes for the levels in the game. One of the first and most obvious was a forest. Nothing screams early-game fantasy like a hobgoblin infested wood! So of course came the hobgoblins. Squishy, somewhat fast, expendable and prone to laying in ambush.

A good start, but nothing entirely out of the ordinary. When you begin the Hobgoblin Forest quest, only groups of these low level goblins are spawned. But as time goes on, a tougher variant begins to show up, armed with a shield and flail.

And for two years, those flail variants were very hard to take down. Their attack range was quite large and removed 5 HP (or a starting pool of 15 HP) every time they swung the full circle and made contact with Old Beard.
This is where testing came in. As a one man dev (and a lifelong dabbler in music,art,etc), I knew my tendencies to abandon projects if I showed them to friends too early. So I waited on Beard & Axe. I waited two years! Nobody saw it! And then of course when I finally opened it up, there were some balance issues.

As the Hobgoblin Forest is heavily hinted to be a good place to begin when you're new to the game, these Hobgoblins with flails were incredibly punishing. So I shortened their attack range. And reduced their spawning to only one per combat. But still people joining the testing were having trouble with the forest, the game was too hard!

When you've worked on something for a long time, sometimes you become blind to things that have been in place for (literally) years. It took me some time to discover the true root of the problem. It was the flails, but it was also the rest of the game, a super fundamentl part of the combat was way out of wack.

Stun locking.

And the play testers had brought it up to me in one way or another, but I was still blind to the problem. It took a few weeks before it dawned on me. I had enemies that would stun lock the player when they landed a hit, and while the player was stun locked they could not be hit again. But AS SOON as the stun lock wore off, the enemies were able to hit again immediately. Since stun locking heavily reduced movement speed, the player could sometimes just NOT get away from enemies. This is obviously no fun at all.

When my eyes were finally opened, a couple hours of work put the problem to rest. And the game was so much better! I couldn't believe something so fundamental had sat there for so long. The power of playtesting!

I knew from the beginning I was setting out to make a difficult game. It's easy to give enemies tons of health and allow them to do heavy damage, but that really isn't an entertaining experience for the player. I thought I understood that but when you're deep in the forest of development, things can get weird, man. I'm still of the opinion that keeping a project to myself is a good way to ensure my completing it, but it could be next time I get some eyes on maybe 1 year in, not 2!

Thanks for having a read!

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About This Game

Beard and Axe is a top-down, action adventure rogue-lite from Dwarfaparte, a one man indie dev.

The Dwarf King of Half-Axe Hold has decided that his time to rule has grown overlong, and drinks from the ancient beer cask. Creeping up slowly from his feet, the King's body turns to stone, preparing his entry into the hall of ancestral rulers that preceded him. All would be successors will need to swear and fulfill many oaths if they wish to rule the hold.

As Old Beard, you will venture out into the world above to recover your clan's lost relics, collect magical powders and ammunitions, and fight a wide variety of foul creatures. Failure means loss of the honor that has been added to your clan name through the ages, and if too much is lost, your quest will be over before you can complete it!

But it's not as simple as it seems.

Before each quest you decide to embark upon, you must swear and sign solemn oaths. Going to the lost mines? How much black powder will you bring back? How many balls of shot? Will you be attempting to recover your families ancestral rune stein? Even if you survive and make it back to the exit, if you lack even one of the amount you swore to return with, you'll lose half of everything you carry and any artifact you found!

Other dwarfs also are fulfilling their own oaths, and if you're not quick enough, instead of becoming king, you'll end up as one of their thanes or (beards forbid!) merely master of arms. To become king, you'll not only need to fulfill your oaths to the letter, but complete them all before your competitors!

- A challenging rogue lite adventure
- Decide how much you want to achieve and bring how much you want to risk on each quest
- Use various magic gun powders and runic bullets to gain an advantage over 50+ unique enemy types
- Drink Dwarven Ale to restore your health, just remember too much can lead to poor aim and tripping over your own beard!
- Procedurally generated levels for every adventure
- Irondwarf mode! (Yes it's Ironman mode)
- 4 unique endings

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP and Above
    • Processor: 1.2 Ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 mb Video Memory
    • Storage: 500 MB available space

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